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Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are turning 40. But instead of celebrating, they're mired in a mid-life crisis with unruly kids, debt and unhappiness mounding. Pete's record label is failing and Debbie is unable to come to terms with her aging body. As Pete's 40th birthday party arrives, Pete and Debbie are going to have to rely on family, friends, employees, fitness trainers, aging rockers and ultimately each other to come to terms with life at age 40. Written by
I believe I have seen all of Judd Apatow's films and I've liked a majority of them but This Is 40 is not only his worst film, it's one of the worst films I've seen this year if not ever. The film honestly felt like the script was never completed, an editor was never hired and the actors had no direction. It had none of the joy of his other films and not even the natural likability of the stars (Rudd, Mann, Segel) could save it. It felt dour and depressing all while under the naturally (or unnaturally) pleasant skies of Santa Monica.
The main couple's (Rudd and Mann) lives are coming apart because they feel they need to change but find it difficult to change. In the end, however, they come to the realization that they don't need to change...this is the worst character arc imaginable...characters who go nowhere and are somehow happy about it by the end. But then again, these characters start from a place of wealth and privilege (not that you can't have wealthy, relatable characters) so you already begin the story by thinking these characters really don't have that much to complain about (or enough to really care). They both have luxury cars, they have a family, a beautiful house...that's not exactly a starting point for an audience to feel for a set of main characters. Literally all the normally excellent actors seemed to have awful performances that felt jilted, tired and unfit (I mean try and find John Lithgow giving a bad performance ever), this was not a good turn for Megan Fox in comedy at all, go down the list...even Jason Segel who rocks almost everything he's in felt misused. The worst part of it all was it was not funny. There were a smattering of laughs for the whole film in the theater I was in.
This film was a total and utter train wreck...and I almost feel bad for Apatow except for I spent my money on this film and now I feel bad for myself. I was very close to walking out a few times and I never walk out of films. The two and a half hour run time felt way excessive and basically like a first time director who didn't know how or where to cut. And the beats didn't work (the COMEDY BEATS, that should be Apatow's strong suit).
I had to go out and watch something else the next day just to help erase the memory of this film because it was that awful. Not campy awful, not funny awful, just plain 'ol awful. I really wish someone had stopped this film at some level and tried to help them fix it because the themes are good, the actors are normally good...all the parts could all be good...but somehow this was just the opposite...just bad, really, really, bad. And as a writer/director you have to put the blame on Apatow for this one.
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